GULU – At least 80 members of Savings and Credit co-operatives from 17 rural groups, with little or no managerial skills of their own, have received training in managing SACCOs formed under the Presidential Initiative On Job And Wealth Creation, Emyooga.
The training conducted by the Microfinance Support Center, MSC, in Gulu district council hall on April 22, 2021, attracted five members from each of the groups.
Kevin Atimango, the MSC Client Relation Officer, took the trainees through the action plans they need to take before members can access their money.
The trainees are expected to train other group members, mobilize savings, hold an annual general meeting, open an office and activate their SACCO accounts.
“The money for office rent should come from the members’ savings, not the Emyooga cash. That is why it is important for you to encourage members to pay their membership and subscription fees,” Atimango said.
Gulu district received Shs 560 million two months ago but money is still lying on the constituency bank account.
Gulu Resident City Commissioner, Stephen Odong Latek, encouraged the trainees to work like they are competing for a top prize to grow their SACCOs and become role models.
“After eight years we should have a billion shillings out of this money in your account and even qualify to become a bank,” Latek said.
Latek explained that if groups worked hard, they will be saved from the claws of bureaucracies and expenses involved in borrowing money from other financial institutions.
“We are doing this to save you from the very tedious and expensive processes of borrowing money from banks, whereby when you apply for a million shillings, you end up getting only Shs 700,000 because some of it is deducted for other costs,” Latek said.
Latek also warned people spreading rumors that the Emyooga cash is free money that should be shared by members. He said he will arrest anyone who squanders the money.
“This money was not a bribe for you to vote the NRM as some of you are speculating, it is for you to multiply it and improve your livelihood.”
“I’m telling you now that whoever spearheads the misuse of this money will be jailed. Every decision or action regarding this money has to be made by the group, and with due regard to the laws of the SACCO, not by an individual. Falsification of documents and signatures will not be entertained,” he said.
The RDC said for SACCOs to grow, members should borrow the money with the aim of multiplying it, not to host visitors, friends, or to buy household items.
Samuel Baker Okello, the chairperson of the Aswa Tailors’ SACCO, said the training had given him a clear picture of how to steer the group.
“I now know the requirements we need to fulfill before we can access the money. This has been unclear for long,” Okello told theCooperator after the training, adding that, “it will also help me convince other members to pay up their membership and subscription fees, which has not been easy.”
Okello revealed that only seven members of his group have paid up.
Patrick Kitara, the focal person for Emyooga in Gulu district, said during a talk show organized by The Uhuru Institute for Social Development on Mega FM, a day before the training, that SACCO members should pay up the required fees, and abandon the belief that the money is free for all.
“Those who did not pay up are the ones causing confusion. Some groups have 30 members but you find that only 5 or 10 members have paid the fees. Now they have heard that the money is available and want to come and be active. But as long as they have not paid the money, they can’t benefit from it,” Kitara said
Emyooga was launched in August 2019, by President Museveni to enable beneficiaries shift from subsistence to market-oriented production.
The government has earmarked Shs 260 billion for the program, with each constituency getting Shs 560 million.
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